Greetings from the country of Rita Ora,
Dua Lipa, Era Istrefi, GASHI, Majlinda Kelmendi, Geta Beqa, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Milot Rashica, and many more. I’m sure some of you have heard about these people, but if not just Google them and you’ll see who I’m talking about. It’s this small country that has a big heart. The country of unmatched hospitality, which might look ugly and boring when you first arrive, but you can’t wait to come back a second time; and then you fall in love with it.
Our slogan for the country is “Young Europeans”, firstly because as an independent country we’re the youngest in Europe, but also because over 70% of the population is under the age of 35. I don’t even want to talk about how good-looking most women and men are; at least that’s what international visitors say. I can say all these things being from Prishtina, but on Google you may find post like the following (https://www.mywanderlust.pl/visit-pristina-kosovo/), from an international visitor’s perspective.
There’s been a lot of negative propaganda over the decades about Kosovo and Albanians, until the 1999 war as we didn’t have a voice up until then. As much as this is bad, it turns out to be a great thing as everyone’s expectations are exceeded with everything they see and experience. We are said to have the best macchiato in the world, better than Italians; mouthwatering foods and very cheap prices; bars, cafés and clubs like nowhere in the region. And when you’re faced with the hospitality of the locals you have no choice but to fall in love with the place. Search on Twitter or Google the hashtag #KosEng and you’ll see the comments made by the British fans during their visit to Prishtina for the EURO 2020 Qualifiers.
We still consider ourselves as a “startup country”, having declared our independence in 2008. Our politicians didn’t do their best either to build up our war-torn country and develop our institutions. Despite all this, it’s the people that have kept the spirit of the country alive and make it a place you fall in love with. Every second person speaks English and every fourth person speaks German, thus it’s almost impossible to get lost. It’s also super safe and I jokingly say that we have the worst police in the world and yet the lowest crime rate in the world. And it’s all because of the people. Hopefully we’ll take care of some open political issues with our northern neighbors and we’ll show the world who we are and what we can do.
The other aspect is that being a new country, there’s all kinds of business opportunities. I am writing to you as a young entrepreneur who’s traveled over 40 countries and had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world. Although I do business within the region, and intend to do so globally, I would never live in a different country. Initially because our taxes are some of the lowest in the world, but also because in one single day you can work very hard, but still get to have a meeting over coffee or lunch, then go for a cocktail after work, have dinner with your partner, go out to a club at night, and tomorrow repeat again. You can’t do all of this in a single day in any western country. You can also make very good money, and save a lot as it’s one of the cheapest places to live in.
Another interesting fact that is very relevant at this time is the low number of people infected with the corona virus and the low number of deaths because of it. Again it’s not because we have the best hospitals or health system; it’s the people. We did obey all the #stayhome orders of the government and we were very successful with fighting it.
Now, the pandemic did slow down our lives and the economy, but as noted in social media comments and discussions, the majority of the people here tend to see it from a positive point of view. We see it as a lesson for all companies to upgrade their business models and advance their online presence and focus on e-commerce as well. We believe that this pandemic has been a blessing as it has accelerated our technology skills, both at an individual level, but also at a company level.
Another way we look at the pandemic is that with the globalization and our “lack of time”, we’ve been blessed to have all this time gifted to us to spend time with our family and loved ones, have time to reflect about the way live our lives or do our work, and thus have the opportunity to make improvements. It was a great time for us to use this time to read more books, get knowledge in certain fields or improve a skill we need for our job. And seriously, when could we get all this time to clean up our unneeded papers at home or our closets?
As of this week, our government lifted some of the restrictions and we’ll slowly start getting back to normal and prepare for the summer. Funny enough, we don’t have a sea, but our summers are even better than other seasons. It’s because all our diaspora comes to visit. As you probably know, we have a large diaspora and they just love it here. Also, with the emergence of social media they keep sharing all the good news and what happens here, and every year we have more and more of their friends from where they live come and visit over the summer.
Anyone thinking about visiting or needing any tips, please feel free to contact me anytime.
All the best,
Ardian is a changemaker, entrepreneur, angel investor, and speaker, with experience in jewelry, education, media, entertainment, food industry, and telecommunications.
He holds an Executive MBA degree from the IEDC – Bled School of Management. Ardian is also the Chairman of the Digital Economy Committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo and is a very active Rotarian and a founding member of Rotary Club Prishtina.